Queen’s introduces new COVID-19 restrictions for winter semester

University will no longer inform residents of outbreaks

Booster shots available for students at Mitchell Hall starting Jan. 14.

Following a surge of COVID-19 cases that began in December and the announcement that classes will be held online until Feb. 28, Queen’s has implemented new safety measures as students return to campus.

Residences remain open for the winter semester, though students have been asked to declare their date of return through the residence portal.

Queen’s will also be reimbursing students $340 for every week up to Feb. 28 that they are not returning. Those who choose to withdraw from residence for the winter semester will not have to pay winter residence fees at all but will have to return their keys and clear out their room.

Outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people. Libraries are limited to 50 per cent capacity. The ARC will remain closed until Jan. 26 with virtual fitness programming available.

Masks and physical distancing are required in all common spaces and no food or drink is allowed. Daily screening through SeQure is required to enter many in-person facilities.

“Individuals with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are presumed positive and they should follow isolation and/or self-monitoring guidelines,” the University wrote in an announcement on Jan. 6.

Students displaying COVID-19 symptoms are required to self-isolate along with any close contacts for at least five days or until symptoms have resolved. Those who are partially vaccinated, unvaccinated, or immunocompromised will have to isolate for 10 days in accordance with the provincial recommendations.

Queen’s will also no longer send out memos about positive cases or inform residence floors to isolate—students must inform those around them on their own.

PCR tests will only be available for high-risk individuals, while rapid antigen tests will be available from Jan. 10 to 14 at the JDUC for asymptomatic individuals only as a screening measure.

Additionally, the University strongly recommends that all students returning to campus who are 18 years or older and least 84 days post-second dose get a booster shot as soon as possible.

“Given the prevalence of Omicron, symptomatic isolation provides us with the best protection against the spread of the virus—testing is no longer the best line of defence,” Residence Life wrote in an email sent Jan. 5.

A drop-in vaccine clinic will be available to all students on Jan. 14 in Mitchell Hall and students can book a vaccination appointment at several of Kingston’s COVID-19 clinics.

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